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For those who have yet to suffer through this, a few tips I learned through my experience! –

Earlier this year, we bought the car used, knowing it was from up north and was rusty underneath. The only real problem we’ve had so far was the fuel tank started leaking from the two vent lines on top of the tank – the metal tank spigots had completely rusted off. I bought a used tank from a local salvage yard for $50, and while replacing it, decided to do the fuel filler neck too, since it was in pretty bad shape. I bought a new Spectra FN911 from Advance Auto for $130 or so.

The fuel filler neck lower bracket was rusted pretty bad but cleaned up well enough to paint and reuse – Evaporust and a wire wheel for a couple of days worked pretty well.

With all of the nuts and bolts being rusty – I broke a handful. With the tank venting vapors I wasn’t comfortable using my torch to heat them up. A set of left-handed drill bits came in handy to drill out the ones I broke. Be careful using a center-punch on broken-off bolts that thread into a nut welded to the internal of the frame – I actually broke the weld-nut free with the center-punch in one case. Most of the bolts I had to remove (or drill out) were M8-1.25, one was M6-1.0 (a bolt through the left rear plastic fender to the fuel filler neck bracket).

You don’t have to remove all four corners of the tank straps (if they’re in good condition, as mine were) – only the front two, and you don’t have to remove the muffler either. I had the rear of my car on ramps, removed the lower brace (two bolts) under the front of the intermediate pipe (broke one of these, even with heat), disconnected the intermediate pipe in the front (two nuts), and slipped the rubber exhaust hangers off of all the metal hanger arms. I then used my floor jack to jack the rear up a bit more and that left enough room to finagle the tank over the intermediate pipe and out the driver side, just in front of the rear tire. With the muffler off its hangers, you can rotate the muffler and intermediate pipe some to give you some clearance. To undo the front 2 tank strap nuts – use an M10-1.25 die to clean the long stud threads first. I’ll reduce your chances of breaking the stud (I broke one and then figured this out).

All fasteners on the top of my tank (fuel pump, vent, tank level, etc…) were all rusted to hell. I used a mix of Irwin and Craftsman bolt extractors to remove the fuel pump nuts. Don’t worry about SAE or metric, just find a size that works – I used multiple sizes as the nuts pretty much crumbled into differing sizes while trying to remove them. I bought replacement nuts and I think they were M5-0.8. Luckily the other components on the used tank I purchased were in good shape, so I only had to deal with the fuel pump.

Anyway – I hope this helps make the job a bit easier for whomever tackles this job in the future!

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